1. Extreme Beer Fest. March 20 & 21, 2015 in Boston, Mass. Join us!
  2. The wait is over! Download the BeerAdvocate app on iTunes or Google Play now.
  3. Get 12 issues / year of BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99!

Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout - North Coast Brewing Co.

Not Rated.
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial StoutOld Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout

Displayed for educational use only; do not reuse.

10,181 Ratings

(view ratings)
Ratings: 10,181
Reviews: 3,383
rAvg: 4.3
pDev: 10.47%
Wants: 331
Gots: 1,451 | FT: 44
Brewed by:
North Coast Brewing Co. visit their website
California, United States

Style | ABV
Russian Imperial Stout |  9.00% ABV

Availability: Year-round

Notes/Commercial Description:
No notes at this time.

(Beer added by: kbub6f on 01-18-2001)
Beer: Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Usefulness | Recent | High | Low | Top Raters | Read the Alström Bros Beer Reviews and Beer Ratings of Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout Alström Bros
Ratings: 10,181 | Reviews: 3,383 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of GratefulBeerGuy
3.98/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

From the bottle on an unexpected stop at the Moan N' Dove driving home from the four-day music festival "Gathering of the vibes" at Seaside park in Bridgeport, CT. A great way to end such a gret weekend.
Poured into a big hefty mug.

AP: Looks amazing, big, deep dark body with a large mocha brown head that dissiptes real-sloooow. This is what a RIS should look like.

Nose: A really nice aromatic balance is obvious with big musty oak and chocolate with vanilla malt and a very distictive herbalized hop profile that is not as aromatic as some really big RIS that i've had.

Flavor: Once again. the balance of the flavors is the really impressive part, I've had much bolder RIS's with big heat and very sweet malt or very intense hop profile's, this one is a seemingly perfect balance of the flavor's. Not as bold as some with a very nice chocoalte-coffee and vanilla malt riding shot-gun to the ever-present natural oak-wood mild bitterness. I think the earthy hop flavor of this one is almost just-right, very noticable but not over-powering in anyway. This flavor is a total team effort that has no big ego super-star A-ROD to demand your attention constantly.

Feel: Full body for sure, just as hefty and thick as it should be, could be more so, but that's not the point, it's pretty dang right-on. The big-fat constant head makes for a creamy experience.

DA: At 9% this one drinks rather easy, and is made even easier with it's great balance.

GratefulBeerGuy, Aug 14, 2007
Photo of yourunclewalt
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

"If Clint Eastwood were to whip me to death and put that in a bottle, you would get this beer." - Mike 'Peanut' Ruller, August, 2007.

A - Thick, deep tan pillowy head on top of a pitch black, murky body.

S - Brown sugar, floral hops, fusel / vodka tinge

T - Very bittery brown sugar / vodka, bit of caramel and chocolate to finish. Extremely malty, imperial to type with the slightest hint of bittering hops in the aftertaste

M - Thicky, creamy, milky stout body. Little bit of carbonation and alcohol spoils the finish, however.

D - This is supremely delicious. An after-dinner / cordial for sure, not even close to sessionability. Probably comparable to the Sam Smith's Imp. Stout.

yourunclewalt, Aug 10, 2007
Photo of JoeyBeerBelly
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

12 oz bottle, poured in a pint glass

Deep dark black in color with a dark tan head that stayed the entire glassfull.
Aroma to me is chocolate espresso roasted coffee, if there is such a thing?
This is a very tasty stout, sweet in it's own way, one of the finest tasting RIS's I've had.
It has medium body and goes down smooth.
Drinkability is restricted to 'good' or one might embarrass themself.

JoeyBeerBelly, Aug 09, 2007
Photo of jcdiflorio
4.18/5  rDev -2.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3.5

poured into a Mad Elf tulip glass from a 12oz stubby brown bottle with a crimped cap.

Had a half glass of beer and head from a medium pour.Opaque black with a slight brownish hue. Creamy tan head with good retention leaving a creamy coating throughout the beer. No lacing just a tiny speck or two.

Moderate aromas,lots of maltyness,very roasty,chard wood,burnt carmell,bakers chocolate and tinge of alcohol and a somewhat of a mustyness,

Burnt bittersweet carmell taste,roasty, woody/earthy has a clean mid-taste followed by an intense sharp bitterness with strong unsweetened chocolate notes with a warming booziness not overwhelming but definate. A nice balance and fairly complex

Has a light/airy feel for the style,very creamy has a juicy booziness. A sipper that goes down with ease. Not a beer i would drink more than one or two of,but enjoyable none the less.

jcdiflorio, Aug 04, 2007
Photo of doubledslc
3.9/5  rDev -9.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 2.5

I like Pale Ale in general, but there is always room for a stout in my belly. The character of this beer is as intimidating as a Russian soothe-sayer with one eye, but it lingers like the burn from a roasted jalapeno pepper on your pallet. It's been like 100 everyday here in the SLC so a stout isn't the first beer I would grab off the shelf, but as soon as it starts snowing again, I'm sure I'll get my stout on.

Peace off!

doubledslc, Aug 02, 2007
4.05/5  rDev -5.8%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

Its been on tap for a while here in Tampa. Pours dark ,rich and thick, and black, not as much ruby in the color as I would expect. Creamy head retention better on co2 blend than straight co2. Can't decide which I like better.
Complexity is the key word, black pat malts, coffee, maybe carmel gives the nose its fill of raisins and plumbs.
Esters of alcohol are there, the finish is a little sharp with a contradictory sweetness lingering on the tongue. Carbonation is low, mouth feel is enhanced when on blend. This is my choice for a RIS however The Yeti is right behind.

DUNDERBAK, Jul 29, 2007
Photo of choyhosoi
3.85/5  rDev -10.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

This one pours dark as night and leaves a nice creamy head. The smell is very intoxicating hints of fruit, chocolate, and coffee. The taste was smooth but stayed on the top of my mouth with a bit of bitterness. After a couple of more drinks this one got a little more tamer as far as bitterness is concerned. I would not recommend this if you do not like strong stout beers this one wont be for you.

choyhosoi, Jul 28, 2007
Photo of tpd975
4.28/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

A: It pours nice and slowly into the glass producing a HUGE head, had to slow the pour down so that the head could stay within the glass. It is dark as night with tons thick beautiful lacing stuck to the side of the glass. I have no idea if there are any bubbles inside due to the darkness of the brew, but the way the head sticks around I would guess there are.

S: The smell is very nice, dark charcoaled roasted malt, there is also coffee, with a wonderful buttery sweet chocolate aroma mixed in. There are also sweet fruits, dark fruits, and a big blast of hops.

T: Very nice. This beer is soo creamy. It has the wonderful flavor of a dark mocha cappuccino. The chocolate is so nice in this one. Up front, but married nicely to the coffee. This is silk chocolate cake in a bottle. The finish is bold with nice hoppy bitterness. Great

M: Rich, Creamy, Silky Smooth. Has enough body to make it stick to the mouth and throat, which is a very good thing.

D: It goes down very nicely for a RIS. There is no hint of the ABV. It's a great drinking stout come summer or winter.

Overall: I have loved this beer since the first time I popped one open. It is very big on taste yet not too over the top. The flavors and aroma keep pulling me back to the glass. The flavors are soo complex, and they seem to hit you in waves. One sip is dark chocolate and coffee, the next may be sweet dark fruits and buttery chocolate.... So complex with so many flavors. It is so boldly subtle, I can't really explain it. It is one of the best stout's out there and deserving of its place in the top 100.

I just popped open a second bottle with a slice of chocolate mocha cake, and a dollop of birthday cake ice cream.... Yummmm. North Coast you RULE! Gotta go buy some more, because I just put down both of my bottles in one sitting.

tpd975, Jul 27, 2007
Photo of 0tt0
4.4/5  rDev +2.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

I'm not into stouts as a rule, so this should be interesting...

Pours a dark mahogany into my Duvel glass. Big tan head, fairly tight that slowly dissipates to a nice solid collar. A bit or ruby red highlights around the curves of the vessel... The dominant smell is of chocolate, specifically cocoa with a bit of toffee and heavily roasted coffee in the background. Smells absolutely delicious. Taste reflects the nose, but with a stronger toffee presence in the middle and nice hop tingle that I didn't expect given the scent. There is a dry, bitter finish that lasts quite a while that lingers with cocoa flavor.

If most stouts are as good as this, then I am a convert. Its a shame I tried it on a July night, because I am suddenly yearning for winter. A fabulous thing...

0tt0, Jul 25, 2007
Photo of TheBierBand
3.93/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Picked up a four-pack from a newly discovered beer source.... Trader Joe's in Blue Ash - suburb of Cincinnati. Not a huge selection, but some off beat brands and nice policy on singles... you can mix and match individual beers and they just charge you individual bottle pricing.

The Old Rasputin poured from the 12 oz brown bottle into a pint glass to produce a 1/2" dense tan head over a black beer.

The scent was very aromatic with shades of coffee, chocolate and malt sweetness.

The taste was very good. In keeping with style and on par with the aroma, chocolate, coffee and and nice malt sweetness prevail.

Mouthfeel: Not as heavy as expected. Carbonation is a slight bit higher than most RIS's I've had. I enjoy the chalkiness of this beer.

Drinkability: Typical of the higher ABV of most RIS... proceed with caution, but you can have as many of these as your body will allow. I will look for this again.

TheBierBand, Jul 23, 2007
Photo of jamie2dope
3.98/5  rDev -7.4%
look: 3.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

This is one of those beers I have had lots of times, but never bothered to review. It poured into a mini Old Rasputin pint glass a dark brown, with ruby hues toward the bottom of the glass. Aroma was filled with milk chocolate, sweet bread and powdered sugar. Taste starts off rather sweet, with more of the milk chocolate coming through. Towards the end it becomes a bit more roasty and bitter, leaving a burnt coffee flavor on the palate. I would say the body of this beer is medium for an Imperial Stout. Alcohol does not seem prominent at all. A four pack of this brew did well for me. This is a great brew that is always reliable. Cheers

jamie2dope, Jul 23, 2007
Photo of AlephNull
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 3.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

A- Pours black as the darkest night. There's no light that gets through this one held up to the brightest of lights. The head takes a while to grow, and disappears to a thin ring around the glass quickly as well. It leaves a heavy lacing that drips back down the glass.

S- Toasted malts dominate with a chocolaty flavor over all others. There's a nice burnt grain that follows closing with a hint of sweet cherry.

T- Mmm... toasty goodness opens with roasted grains, quite a variety to these grain flavors that develop briefly into a bit of a coffee flavor.

M- Always an issue with strong stouts, this comes of as a bit chalky, but this has a bit of an oily basis behind it. Less chalky than many other high alcohol stouts, it's not too bad on the palate, but very dry.

D- While I really enjoy this, it's primarily on an intellectual level. Not an everyday beer. The dryness of this beer is perhaps a little overwhelming.

AlephNull, Jul 23, 2007
Photo of baos
4.83/5  rDev +12.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 5 | taste: 5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Beer is black as night coming out of the bottle with a nice dark oatmeal head more of a head than i expected from this black beer. Has a nice roasted caramel bouquet. On the first sip its all coffee and unsweetened chocolate but this melds with the bitter albeit piny aftertaste. A truly remarkable beer.

baos, Jul 22, 2007
Photo of LeftyBWS
3.93/5  rDev -8.6%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3

On tap at the Publick House, Brookline, MA. Served in a smaller glass, somewhere between a shot and a pint.
A: When it arrived in front of me, I could see three layers. The bottom third was very deep, dark brown; in the middle was a much lighter, café au lait color brown; on top was the very creamy and thick head. As a minute or so passed, the dark brown gobbled up the middle layer and the head very slowly but surely receded. An intriguing effect, to say the least.
S: Smells of roasted coffee, chocolate, and perhaps some sweet toffee. There were also notes of raisins, and maybe a buried cherry flavor, like chocolate-covered fruit.
T: Very imperial and stoutish. I can definitely taste the coffee, chocolate and raisiny notes. Somewhat bitter mid- and aftertaste.
M: Thick, creamy and heavy. Just what I expected.
D: This roughly half-pint was plenty for me. It tastes great and is a beer I would get again, but any more than a pint would take work, especially with a meal.

LeftyBWS, Jul 20, 2007
Photo of loren01
3.75/5  rDev -12.8%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

A: Pours pitch black color, 1 finger width tan head. Good lacing down the glass
S: Coffee, chocolate, slight metallic smell
T: Strong ETOH taste, dark chocolate, metallic bitter aftertaste
M: Smooth, creamy full bodied brew
D: Fairly heavy stout for me but very flavorfull and drinkability is good. A very good sipping beer.

loren01, Jul 19, 2007
Photo of khiasmus
4.3/5  rDev 0%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4

A- Black with ruby highlights when held to the light. Poured with two fingers of dense, fluffy head into my snifter, that soon settled to a ring... can't ask for more at 9%.

S- Roasted grain, dark malt, charcoal, coffee, chocolate, molasses, alcohol. Smells excellent.

T- Initially thick, sweet malt, followed immediately by dark roasted grain and alcohol. Hints of soy sauce, sherry, chocolate, coffee, honey, cane sugar, and burnt bread crust. Wonderful.

M- I actually noticed the mouthfeel more than the taste on my first sip. Thick, chewy, medium carbonation, full bodied, leaves a slightly dry feeling at the back of your tongue, but the rest of your mouth feels coated in oil. I can't give it a five, though... Dark Lord has ruined me forever from giving fives in this style.

D- Quite good, especially for the 9%. I wouldn't drink it all the time, but if it was readily available... sigh. I'd be a happy man.

khiasmus, Jul 17, 2007
Photo of largadeer
4.38/5  rDev +1.9%
look: 5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Nitro-tap, served in a tulip glass.

Appearance: Pitch-black with a huge, dense and frothy nitro head.

Smell: Dark chocolate and burnt grains.

Taste & mouthfeel: Unbelievably rich and creamy. Baker's chocolate, espresso, toast and chocolate pudding. Hops are very much present in the finish, providing a balancing bitterness.

Drinkability: Not necessarily sessionable, but as close as I've found in an imperial stout. Despite the high ABV, this is incredibly smooth and drinkable.

largadeer, Jul 17, 2007
Photo of Night
4.25/5  rDev -1.2%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Pours pitch black with some dark crimson to brown flecks. Very large, bubbly, light-brown head with a good amount of cream and lots of arced lacing. Aroma is warm and woozy: prunes, spruce resin, milk chocolate, cream, vanilla, some red wine, and lots of alcohol. Mouthfeel is juicy and creamy. Flavor is mildly sweet with chocolate and molasses backed by a somewhat milder acidic coffee / grass and a deep, rich hop spice. Notes of custard and dark fruit throughout. Deep roast with charcoal in the finish; burnt meaty aftertaste.

Night, Jul 15, 2007
Photo of tempest
4.03/5  rDev -6.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Served in a Westy chalice and it looks beautiful. Smells and drinks with a mellow chocolate and roasted malt backbone. It's a nice flavor, but I can't pull a lot of depth from it. Still, it has a wonderful chocolate taste and makes for a great dessert beer and for a RIS it's relatively affordable.

tempest, Jul 14, 2007
Photo of barleywinebrewer
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

so 982 reviewers as of this writing. This is one rather nice imp stout. I picked up a couple of these on a beer run last weekend. I will not expand upon the many other review other than to say, hops were a bit sharper than expected and the abv was so smooth and hidden as to be a surprise. Wonderful beer! Highly recommended.

barleywinebrewer, Jul 13, 2007
Photo of cjhofelt
2.95/5  rDev -31.4%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

This beer is almost opaque (as a stout should be) but if you shine a bright enough light to it, it's actually magenta in color. Thin head that fades to a thin film.

The smell is hard to describe. It's fruity on top of a strong malt aroma. I'm not so sure I like it.

Well, it's not too bad. There's a tasty maltyness up front followed by a fruity flavor then finishes up with coffee, chocolate, and finally, something like, well, a bit like Juicey-Fruit gum and alcohol, as one of the low reviewers said. In some ways, this tastes a bit like a winter warmer. There's also sort of a back flavor here that's reminiscent of other North Coast beers. I'm not sure what to call it other than the North Coast taste.

Heavy mouthfeel, a bit chewey and syrupy. Not a real thirst quencher, more of a hunger quencher.

Something good to drink on a chilly night. I like it, but I've had better RIS. Worth a try.

cjhofelt, Jul 12, 2007
Photo of bunnyhustle
4.1/5  rDev -4.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

First stout reviewed, not typically a fan but this was a treat. Received as a gift from an employee and was hesitant to drink due to it not normally being my style and the high alcohol content. Pours dark, virtually black, with nice thick, tan head. Head stays around and leaves great lace. Smell is of coffee mainly but some chocolate as well and a little bit of alochol (only a little). Looks good...smells good...taste...its good too. Very thick and creamy, low carbonation and strong coffee (cant pinpoint what kind as I'm not a coffee drinker) and nice taste of chocolate at the end, little bit of alcohol taste but its hidden beneath everything else. The most complex tasting beer I have ever reviewed. For being so strong and thick you hardly notice, great mouthfeel, great beer. Curious to try other examples of this style but I think I'll only be disappointed.

bunnyhustle, Jul 12, 2007
Photo of giblet
4.33/5  rDev +0.7%
look: 4 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

amazingly smooth. this beer is a very good stout. very nice smell and taste. very nice carbonation, head and lace.

to date this is the best stout that i have had the pleasure to drink. i do not drink stout often because i am a coffee drinker. sounds odd but i want my beer to be beer and my coffee to be coffee. this stout stands on its own.

excellent choice!

suckem up and movem out!


giblet, Jul 10, 2007
Photo of Halcyondays
4.22/5  rDev -1.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4

12 oz. bottle, #50 review.

A: Dark opaque black, with tan head, good retention. The bottle has a picture of that psychotic Russian mystic that helped put an end to Nicholas II's reign.

S: Robust, smells of heavily roasted malts/French roast coffee, dark chocolate, soy sauce, fig, raisin, a bit of citric hops, but it is faint.

T: Not as thick and robust as I would have thought. Tastes of roasted malts predominately, with good amounts of coffee and chocolate. A little to burnt for my tastes, but this is a minor technicality.

M: Smooth, rich, creamy, this is how an RIS should feel. Not overbearing, but the perfect balance of robustness and smooth dessert like feel.

D: A delicious tasty brew, worth its accolades. Not that expensive in this neck of the woods, and its even available at my local Vons. A classic brew, that is a good choice for RIS fans low on cash and looking for a thick warming dessert-type beer. Would think this would be the perfect complement to rich chocolate cake.

Halcyondays, Jul 10, 2007
Photo of Nesued
4.45/5  rDev +3.5%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Appearance - Served this one a bit warmer than recommended temp. I just couldn't wait to get a hold of this one. Poured a jet black color with a very big head forming upon pour. The carbonation reminded me of what the Westy 12 looked like (i.e. very small fine carbonation bubbles). The head was a very dense frothy tan coloring that clinged to the glass.

Smell - Bold aroma of sweet malt and candy. Also coming to the show was a chocolate/caramel aroma that offered a more practical frame of reference. A bit yeasty as well. Bring the beer to your nose. Note the beer's aromatic qualities. I didn't really get a sense of a hop presence.

Taste - If I closed my eyes, I would have not thought this was as dark of a malty beer as my first taste. The hop hits you square in the taste buds and marks it's turf. The citric/hop was at first both unexpected and overwhelming, but the malty body did come to the show. I didn't get a feel for the alcohol during the entire sampling.

Mouthfeel - The carbonation really didn't add much to the transportation of this beer. The body was fully due to the malt/hop one-two punch. This was a very chewy/dense beer that made it's presence known to your mouth, in a good way. As it slid down, be thinking about the hops, 'cause they will be thinking of you.

Drinkability - A nice sipping beer to end the day. I really enjoyed this one. One of my top Russian Imperial Stouts.

Nesued, Jul 10, 2007
Old Rasputin Russian Imperial Stout from North Coast Brewing Co.
96 out of 100 based on 10,181 ratings.